WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives voted largely on party lines on Wednesday To remove the time limit expiring for ratification Equal Rights Amendment For women, though Opinion of the Ministry of Justice Such a step is not possible.
The resolution, which must also be approved by the Senate, states that the amendment will be part of the constitution once it is ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states. It happened last year.
But 222 to 204The House vote came decades after the seven-year ratification deadline set by Congress plus a three-year extension passed when the amendment neared approval in the 1970s.
Said California Representative Jackie Speer, co-chair of the Caucus of Democratic Women and author of the book Precision.
President Joe Biden has made equity a priority in his administration. Vice President Kamala Harris is the first woman to win a national election.
“I’ve supported ERA from the start,” Biden said in the first Democratic debate in 2019.
Biden, however, has not removed the roadblock of his predecessor.
During the Trump administration, the Justice Department said Congress could not revive the proposed amendment; It can only restart the authentication process.
“We have concluded that Congress has the constitutional authority to impose a deadline on ratification of the ERA Act, and because of this deadline expiring, the ERA decision is no longer pending before the states,” the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel wrote.
Asked if Biden would cancel that opinion, an administration official said Biden would not dictate a conclusion. The Ministry of Justice did not respond to a request for comment. The White House did not issue a “management policy statement” regarding the ERA decision as it did on another bill discussed Wednesday that would revive a law aimed at curbing domestic and sexual violence.
Speer told USA TODAY on Wednesday that she is confident that the Justice Department’s opinion for 2020 will be withdrawn.
“If I spoke to any constitutional scholar, they said that the opinion presented by the Ministry of Justice last year is laughable, which is that it cannot stand up to any real serious court,” she said. “That was a political statement.”
The measure is backed by two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska and Susan Collins from Maine. But it does not have enough Republican support to avoid being disrupted in the Senate.
“I hope to tell you that we have more Republican support for that at this point in time,” Murkowski said on Tuesday. “We are continuing to work on that.”
It was not taken up by the Senate after the House passed the resolution last year.
If adopted, the constitution states that “equal rights under the law shall not be denied or diminished by the United States or by any state because of sex.”
Proponents say it’s a long-essential protection for women who face discrimination in the workplace and fight domestic violence and sexual harassment.
Although many federal, state, and local laws prohibit discrimination, they can be changed more easily than a constitutional amendment. Advocates say courts handle gender discrimination cases inconsistently.
“We have the right to demand our inclusion in the constitution,” Speer said. “We want in.”
Opponents argue that it is an unnecessary amendment that would enshrine in the constitution protecting abortion, and remove any federal or state restrictions. Anti-abortion groups pointed to court decisions in Connecticut and New Mexico that used Equal Rights Amendments agreed to by the state to allow “medically necessary” abortions for women based on public assistance.
“Men and women are already equal under the constitution. This legislation will not make us more equal,” said Representative Michael Fischbach, from Minnesota, during a debate in the hall. “It is just a tool used by far-left special interest groups to enact their pro-abortion agendas.”
Douglas D. Johnson, senior policy advisor for the national right to life and project director of ERA, said the constitution does not give Congress the right to travel back in time to 1972 to revive an old constitutional amendment.
He said lawmakers are trying to do so because they know they cannot resume the certification process without opening the amendment to changes, including those that abortion opponents would demand.
Congress approved the ERA Act in 1972, including what the Congressional Research Service calls a “customary, but not constitutionally mandatory” seven-year deadline for ratification by three-fourths of the states. When the number of states fell three times below the required number by 1977, Congress extended the deadline to 1982. No additional states acted by the new deadline.
Certification efforts began again in 2017 when women took to the streets in protests after President Donald Trump was elected.
Nevada became the 36th state to ratify the amendment that year, followed by Illinois in 2018.
Virginia He agreed Last year, it was the first time that a proposed constitutional amendment had been adopted by the required number of states after a specified deadline on the grounds that it could still be ratified.
Those states argued in court, to no avail, that the deadline was unenforceable because the Constitution does not give Congress the power to impose a single one. They also argued that while the deadline was included in the introductory clause for the amendment, it was not the amendment text that provided for approval.
US District Judge Rudolph Contreras, appointed by President Barack Obama to federal court, ruled against the states on March 5.
“The Court will not pull the rug off by the long-accepted practice of Congress to announce the conditions for ratification in the preamble to any proposed decision on a technical basis,” Contreras wrote.
States can appeal the decision.
Late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a long-time supporter of ERA, said last year that she wanted the process to start “over” due to the controversy over the late ratification.
It also indicated that some countries that have supported the Foreign Relations Act have revoked the approval since then, raising another legal question. Five states – South Dakota, Nebraska, Tennessee, Idaho, and Kentucky – voted to withdraw in the 1970s.
“If you come back late on the positive, how can you ignore the cases that say, ‘We changed our minds?’” Ginsburg said during an appearance at Georgetown University Law Center. ”